I am deeply and sincerely concerned
with Harrison's movie career
when I was young, he was my favorite actor, all categories. And it is right
there that the problem lies, and I think I share this with the other concerned
Harrison Ford does not want to make children's movies anymore.
We just have to deal with it. Without using IMDB, I will try to remember
his films and analyze the choices he made in his career. (I wrote the
list, then checked that I got the films in correct order - which I had not.
I did miss out a few films, as you may notice)
- American Graffiti - First major film, somewhat of a breakthrough. The
film was a success, but I don't think Harrison's effort was overly impressive.
Nevertheless, I think this is when he really got the taste for it.
- Star Wars - No comments needed, really. Imagine being young and making
a movie like this...Wow!
- Force 10 from Navarone and some other film. Just trying to get going after
Star Wars. He can probably be a bit picky with his parts now.
- The Empire Strikes Back - Returning to the Han Solo part, enjoying it
- Raiders of the Lost Ark - This part he got after Tom Selleck turned
it down. Now he's starting to create a real name for himself. Picking major
roles in major releases. Still, the movies cater to the young audience,
being superficial and silly. The films, not the audience, necessary.
- Blade Runner - This is the first step in a new direction. A more
complex and challenging role to play. I wonder if Harrison knew that he
was playing a replicant, as Ridley Scott revealed recently. Anyhow, trying
to become a more respected actor, this is a clear step away from Indiana
Jones, although not a far one.
- The Return of the Jedi - I think he had a good time doing Han again, although
he probably enjoyed the money and the fame more than the part itself.
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - A bad choice, I'd say. I have no
idea why he chose to do this, but the money keeps rolling in, I guess. This
has to be on Spieldberg's Top-5 Worst-list. I think he wanted to work with
- Witness - My absolute favorite of his films. By far. This is the first
major role where he's playing an ordinary guy of today's society. He really
is the perfect fit for "the regular guy"-parts. He really
struggles to show a profound and living person, and I think he manages
pretty well. Given that he only has two maybe three expressions, this is the
movie where you get to see them all!
- The Mosquito Coast - Crappy film, yes, but a rational choice for Harrison
Ford right now. He's fed up with playing Han, Indiana etc. He wants to act.
He wants to portray real people.
- Frantic - The perfect role for Harrison, in my opinion. In this Roman
Polanski thriller he plays the regular guy fighting the unknown, doing
it just like you and me would. In this movie he has one facial expression
throughout the whole two hours; anger combined with surprise. Perfectly logical
to pick this role, working with an internationally respected film maker.
- Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade - A funny movie to see, and to make
as well, I imagine. A bit reluctant probably, but it's work. After this he
said he'd never, ever do another Indy film. Well, it looks like that was not
- Presumed Innocent and Regarding Henry - Presumed Innocent is the same
role as in Frantic; a regular guy fighting something unknown and unfair. Definitely
a movie for grown-ups...as is Henry. That makes it five films for adults
versus one for the kids, or the kids in the adults. See a pattern ?
- Patriot Games - An interesting choice, really, and the start of a new
direction. Alec Baldwin blew his chance as Jack Ryan and they needed someone
else. This is really right down Harrison's alley remember ? The ordinary
guy...He gets the chance to make high-profile movies that are not fantasy
or science fiction. His first real mainstream contemporary action
- The Fugitive - The ordinary guy revisited. Same thing as Patriot Games.
Everybody knows that this is what Harrison does and they love it. Harrison
now can carry a major release entirely by himself.
- Clear and Present Danger - Third straight in the same genre. He's getting
the really big bucks now, and he likes that. From an acting perspective
I think he liked doing the Henry-like movies more, but this really the direction
if you want respect in Hollywood.
- The Devil's Own - Haven't seen this. I think he was trying to pick the
roles a bit more carefully now, looking for more intelligent, less explosives
kind of roles.
- Air Force One - Back to the old bread and butter role, portraying an
ordinary guy kinda president. From a Hollywood perspective, you don't
get bigger than this. Compare to Bruce Willis, Kevin Costner and Sylvester
Stallone that also used to be making meaningless blockbusters that everyone
- Six Days, Seven Nights - Quite unnecessary movie this. It was probably
thought to be a blockbuster, but didn't quite succeed. Why did he chose to
make this film...I don't know. Anyhow, it is clearly targeted against a more
- Random Hearts - Again turning to an acclaimed film maker - Sydney Pollack
- in order to profile himself as an actor of characters. We all know what
character he can portray, and he is really limited to the regular guy. However,
a clear step away from Air Force One movies.
- What Lies Beneath - This his latest pick, is very logical and even successful
and at the same time a development. He manages to put together a more complex
character than ever before, and for once you don't think that it's Harrison
Ford on the screen. This Alfred Hitchcock type movie is exactly what he
want to do now. With this, it has become obvious that he wants to be the James
Stewart of the 21st century.
See, from the early parts as fantasy action hero, through some contemporary
films and then the action blockbusters, he has reached a point where he can
pick good scripts with interesting parts within reach for his abilities. He
wants to make movies for people who go for the movie itself and pay their tickets
themselves. I think we've lost him as the Han/Indy/Jack guy, and will
see more of him in films in the spirit of these three latest films I've listed.
I think we will see him in more James Stewart-like roles in the future.
In writing this, I realize that I've forgotten Working Girl, where he plays
against - among others - Sigourney Weaver. Just change the names of the films,
and put her name instead of Harrison's and you have a writeup that is probably quite accurate... On
another note, we all wonder when he will toss that stupid toupé.
Update: I turns out that the next film he's doing is a mega-bang-blockbuster-action flick. He's getting paid $1.250.000 per day! 'nuff said about that!